An Autumn Afternoon by the River

It has been way too long since I spent time nature journaling outdoors, so I took advantage of the gorgeous day yesterday to do some sketching down by the river. I wasn’t really focused on making a beautifully composed page, but was just having fun drawing and painting whatever caught my attention.

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Sketching by the river

There was a flock of Canada Geese paddling and feeding on the river. Drawing something that never stops moving is always a challenge, so some geese came out better than others. Then some honeysuckle berries caught my eye. They are translucent red and were literally glowing in the sun—so beautiful!

I found the wild grape leaf on the ground near where I was sitting. Normally they just turn yellow in the fall, but this one was gorgeous in shades of gold, orange and magenta. A teeny-tiny spider marched across the table while I was sketching, so I added her in, too.

I saw a Pileated Woodpecker, which is the first time I have seen one in this area. They are always exciting to see with their magnificent red crests!

The sun was warm, there was a soft breeze, the river was splashing and singing as it flowed over the rocks, and I heard several large splashes in the water—could it be salmon coming home to spawn? It was a beautiful time to enjoy the world around me and forget about worry, and cancer, and the election (oh my goddess, the election!!!) for a while. A much-needed time out.

I wish you gorgeous autumn afternoons full of sunshine and peace, and maybe even a little sketching!

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The final page

(P.S. I just realized I dated my page wrong! It should have been the Oct. 9. Oops! I’ll have to fix that.)

October Transitions

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Can you feel the change in the air? October is one of my favorite months, but this year I’m really noticing how full of transition it is. One day is gray and rainy, the next is sunny and warm. Some trees are still mostly green, while others have completely turned red or gold. There are flowers that are still in full bloom, while others have already died back for the winter. The energy is fitful, restless, up-and-down, changing from one day to the next.

I feel the same way—restless, out-of-sorts, up-and-down. One day I’m still feeling the bright and active energy of summer, the next I feel the pull of the quieter, introspective energy of autumn. I’m finding it hard to focus, hard to settle down to any one project. Like the weather, I’m feeling a bit moody. One day I want change and excitement, I want to shake things up! The next I want to hide under a blanket with a book and ignore the world.

Outer transitions lead to inner transitions, outer changeableness leads to inner changeableness. We are so much more connected to the world around us than we sometimes realize. Are you feeling it, too? It can be a bit of a wild ride!

So to help me deal with all this restlessness, I’ve been making plans to give myself something to focus on as well as a couple of things to look forward to.

I have been feeling a bit disconnected spiritually, and wanted to challenge myself to refresh my spiritual practice. I decided that for five evenings each week during the month of October, I will turn off all electronics by 7 pm and spend time at my altar praying with my goddess rosary, then spend time in meditation. The rest of the evening I’ll journal, sketch, read, etc., but no phone, computer or TV. (I’m usually in bed reading by 9 or 9:30, so this isn’t such a long period of time as it might sound to those of you who are night owls!) I started this practice this week and I already feel more centered and connected to Goddess.

To give myself something to look forward to, I am planning to take Joanna Powell Colbert’s Ancestor Prayer Card class at the end of the month. I haven’t felt drawn to working with my ancestors in the past, but this year I am feeling a strong pull towards this work and am really looking forward to this class.

I also decided that I want to do Beth Owl’s Daughter’s Solstice Sun Wheel Prayer Circle this year (I’m really planning ahead with this one!). I’ve known about it for years, but haven’t participated before. This year the practice is really calling to me, and I’ve already ordered an advent wreath so I’ll be ready to go. I don’t know if she’ll be leading the circle again this year, but if not I will follow along with the posts from last year.

So, here’s to honoring the seasonal shifts and our own internal shifts as we move deeper into autumn! May it not be too bumpy a ride!